Ceramics Exhibit Launched on Google Arts & Culture

Dragon Ewer (15th-16th century)
Dragon Ewer (15th-16th century)
Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University.

The Walsh Gallery has launched a new exhibit in Google Arts and Culture featuring some of the highlights of Seton Hall’s collection of ceramics.  The exhibit draws from Wang Fang-yu’s Asian Art collection and Herbert Kraft’s Archeology and Anthropology collection to show connections between material cultures widely disparate in both time and place.  According to Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, this exhibit is not only about the formal qualities of the pieces but most importantly how they reveal the technological development of cultures from the Neolithic era to the twentieth century.  The wealth of world cultures featured in this exhibit demonstrates the breadth and scope of Seton Hall’s museum collections.

Object of the Week: Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband

Civil Defense Medical Corp Armband
embroidered textile
mid-20th century
Leonard Dreyfuss papers
MSS 0001
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections



            First observed in January 1970, National Blood Donor Month brings attention to the heightened need for blood and platelet donations in the winter months, typically the most difficult time of the year to meet

Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors, The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter, January 26, 1943, Leonard Dreyfuss papers, MSS 0001, Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections.
Notice of Re-Appointment to Board of Directors
The American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 26, 1943
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

patients’ needs for these products.  Inclement weather and the onset of flu season shrinks the donor pool while demand increases.[1]  Though COVID-19 has altered our daily lives, hospitals and clinics still serve patients in need of blood transfusions. COVID-19 has forced many health care facilities to serve patients at a different capacity by temporarily closing clinics and suspending elective services and procedures or shifting to virtual care in many cases. Yet the need for blood still exists to perform transfusions in most emergent cases, such as traumas, cancer patients, orthopedic surgeries, and many others.  Unfortunately, while the need for blood is growing, fewer people are donating presently.[2]

Did you know that one in seven hospital patients will use blood?  Or that one in 83 births will require a blood transfusion?  If you know someone who has cancer, is pregnant, or has sickle-cell disease, then you might know someone who may need blood.  On December 31, 1969 President Richard Nixon proclaimed January 1970 as the first official observance of National Blood Donor Month as requested by Senate Joint Resolution 154, to

Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter 1943 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Certificate of Merit from American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
Leonard Dreyfuss Papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

pay tribute to voluntary blood donors and encourage new donors.[3]  The American Red Cross provides roughly 35% of donated blood in the United States, while community-based organizations provide 60% and the remaining 5% of the blood supply is collected directly by hospitals.[4]  The American Red Cross was founded in Dansville, New York in 1881 by Clara Barton, who served as a nurse during the American Civil War.[5]

These objects are from the Leonard Dreyfuss Collection on deposit at the university’s Archives and Special Collections.  Leonard Dreyfuss served as Chair of the Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1956 to 1960, and was distinguished as an honorary director of the of the chapter for life.[6]  He also volunteered for the New Jersey Civil Defense which was formed by legislation in 1942 “to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey and to aid in the prevention of damage to and the destruction of property during any emergency.”[7] Dreyfuss also served as a trustee of the Newark Museum and the advisory board at Seton Hall University, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1950. Leonard Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 6, 1886.  In 1914, he joined the Newark Sign Company – an outdoor sign

Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter American Red Cross – Newark Chapter January 12, 1919 Leonard Dreyfuss papers MSS 0001 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Christmas Roll Call Acknowledgement Letter
American Red Cross – Newark Chapter
January 12, 1919
Leonard Dreyfuss papers (MSS 0001)
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

advertising firm.  After 1923, he led a highly successful merger with several advertising companies which became known as U.A.C.  Dreyfuss rapidly moved up the executive ladder, becoming Vice President, President and finally, Chairman of the Board before retiring in 1965.  Leonard Dreyfuss died on December 29, 1969 in Essex Fells, New Jersey. [8]

The Leonard Dreyfus Papers show the namesake’s commitment to service, particularly his efforts with the Civil Defense and Newark Chapter of the American Red Cross. These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, set up a research appointment online or contact us at 973-761-9476.


[1] accessed 1/12/2021

[2] accessed 1/12/2021

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Martin Luther King, Jr. – His Influences Rediscovered & Setonia Ties

The impact that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) had on society is manifest especially when it came to his legacy in regard to the Civil Rights movement.  The individuals, writings, and imagery that captured his life and impact is extensive.  However, it is also noteworthy to reference and reflect upon those who influenced his own philosophy and teachings.

Poster proclaiming the visit of Ghandi’s Grandson as part of the Seton Hall MLKSA celebration in 2003

Among the more famous individuals that Doctor King has cited include Indian lawyer and ethician Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi (1869-1948) and his embrace of nonviolent resistance to unjust laws along with the political writings of American statesman, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) found in his pronouncements on “liberty,” “democracy,” and “equal rights” in particular.

In addition to notable secular figures, another individual cited as part of the early education is the prophet Moses (1391-1271 BC) who was seen as a living symbol connected to the law of God.  In American historical annals, when it came to slavery such figures and role models as Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman each became a latter-day Moses in leading their people to a promised land of freedom and grace.  Ironically, Doctor King would not only quote Moses on a regular basis within his sermons, but he was equated by many of his adherents as another Moses for his efforts to achieve freedom and equality within American society.  More on the relationship between Doctor King and Moses can be found within the Stanford Freedom Project site accessible via the following link –

MLKSA Seton Hall Scholarship Banquet Menu, 1992

Connections to Doctor King, Moses, and/or Seton Hall have been made within the Archives & Special Collections Center.  Along with records relating to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program (MLKSA) is the oldest and most prestigious Servant Leadership Program on campus and one of the first in the United States having been founded in 1970.  This initiative deals with tuition funding, management, leadership skills development, and research opportunities covering social justice, spirituality, critical thinking, and community service.

Frontispiece of the book: The History of the Heavens (1752)

In regard to Moses, various theological-centered volumes are found in the Rare Book Collection including a 1752 edition of a text entitled:

The History of the Heavens : Considered According to the Notions of the Poets and Philosophers, Compared with the Doctrines of Moses. Being an Inquiry into the Origine of Idolatry, and the Mistakes of Philosophers, Upon the Formation and Influence of the Celestial Bodies, 2 vols. (London: J. Wren, 1752) by Noël Antoine Pluche (1688-1761) and translated from the French by John Baptist De Freval.  The catalog entry for this work can be found under the LC Code – BL305 .P68 1752.

For more information on Doctor King, Moses, and other figures of note that are connected to the history and academic curriculum of Seton Hall University please contact us for information.  E-Mail:, Phone: (973) 275-2378.

Object of the Week: Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


          January 18, 2021 marks the annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in honor of the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.  This day is one of service, not rest, encouraging all Americans to consider Dr. King’s work and honor his memory by volunteering in their communities.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federally recognized holiday in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law, though the first official federal observance did not occur until 1986.[1]

Image of MLK day article by Lenora Cerrato
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the Civil Rights Movement.[2]  He was 35 years old at the time, and the youngest man to have received the award to that point.  The prize was bestowed upon Dr. King in recognition of his nonviolent campaign against racial segregation. Since 1901 when the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, recipients have been required to present a public lecture.[3]  You can hear Dr. King’s Nobel Lecture in Oslo, Norway on December 11, 1964 in the video below.  Dr. Clayborne Carson, Director of The King Institute at Stanford University, believes this lecture, which “lays out his goals for the remainder of his life” is one of his most important speeches.  In this speech, King addresses the problems of racial injustice, poverty and war as global evils and not a uniquely American problem.[4]

The Statement of the Clergy of Union (NJ) on the formation of the MLK Commission was issued just a little over a week after his death, demonstrating their devastation and the importance they placed on Dr. King and his work.

Upon Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, the Clergy Association of Union (New Jersey) composed a statement which was read at a memorial service for Dr. King.  The typed statement, as well as a printed copy from a local newspaper, was preserved by Rev. Nancy Forsberg of the First Congregational Church, where she served as pastor from 1967 until her death in 2000.[5] Like Dr. King, Reverend Nancy – as she was affectionately known by parishioners – was dedicated to interfaith and interracial understanding.  She formed an interfaith Bus Ministry which took participants on inspirational day, weekend, and overseas trips in the furtherance of peace and understanding between people of various faiths and backgrounds.  The Nancy Forsberg Papers, preserved at The

Newspaper clipping on 3 x 5 card from the Nancy Forsberg Collection
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

Department of Archives and Special Collections at Seton Hall University, contains numerous clippings, correspondence and ephemera she collected, including a file dedicated to the subject of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., revealing the importance of his work in parallel to her own efforts.  Though Rev. Forsberg’s papers date to the late 1960s, they still resonate today and ask us to reconsider her and Dr. King’s efforts for Civil Rights and social justice with a renewed sense of urgency.  These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, set up a research appointment online or contact us at 973-761-9476.

Marvin Rich Statement on death of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nancy Forsberg Collection, MSS 22, Folder 718 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968 Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections


[1], accessed 1/8/2021.

[2], accessed 1/8/2021.

[3], accessed 1/8/2021.

[4], accessed 1/8/2021.

[5], accessed 1/8/2021.

Women’s Sporting Excellence & Seton Hall – The Origins of Equality in Athletics

January of 1974 marked the advent of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic competition on the South Orange campus of Seton Hall which came six years after full co-education was approved by school administration officials.  From the tip, female student-athletes who began the trend of competitive success on the Basketball Court or Fencing “Piste” that Winter (to be joined in the Spring by Swimming and Tennis, and in subsequent years by Softball, Volleyball, Golf, Track & Field and other sports) would ultimately become trailblazers in the annals of Setonia sports history.

Prior to the mid-1970s, women had the opportunity to participate on club or  intramural teams which were more informal than competition between various institutions of higher education.  Known as either the “Pirates” or colloquially as the “Bucettes” (the female equivalent of a Buccaneer, i.e. – Pirate) Women-centered squads were created in part to provide student activity opportunities for all co-eds, but also required as a result Title IX federal legislation.  This public law enacted during the June of 1972 required that all college campuses across the nation establish equity in the establishment of athletic opportunities for both male and female students.  Initially, Seton Hall played a number of local teams across New Jersey and the metropolitan area under the banner of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) founded in 1971 prior to joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) by the early 1980s.

Icon depicting Women’s Sports at Seton Hall, 1974

Fortunately, Women’s Athletics have been documented by the student and local press from the first games ever contested in early 1974 onward.  An account of the start of the Basketball and Fencing programs from that era was covered in detail by Ms. Gail Elrick in an article entitled: “Women’s Sports are alive and well at Seton Hall” published in the 1974 Galleon (Seton Hall Student Yearbook, p. 119) is quoted in part here . . .

“Up until three years ago women’s sports were practically non-existent at Seton Hall.  With the completion of the Women’s Residence hall in 1971, the need for athletic and recreational activities for women became necessary.  In 1971 . . . Volleyball, basketball and softball intramurals were organized.  A women’s fencing team (club) was already in existence and club basketball was introduced.  A very popular activity was a noncredit modern dance class . . . This year the Athletic Department was fortunate to have Sue Dilley as the new assistant director of recreation to head women’s athletics . . . The program greatly expanded due to better organization and an increase of interest . . .  Dilley believes that preparation should begin in college.  If programs are organized in which women may compete, their skills would improve . . . The Recreation Department . . . encourage their participation . . . volleyball intramurals, the first activity planned this year, revealed that some success had been achieved.  There were six more teams than the preceding year.  Intramurals were also offered in basketball, softball tennis, swimming and badminton . . . Plans are to advance one club sport to the varsity level each year.  Basketball was raised to the varsity status, joining fencing as the only two women’s varsity sports . . . As these opportunities are taken advantage of, more will become available.  Women have to prove themselves by actively participating in organized athletics.  The Recreation Department’s job is to organize and preside over activities, while it will always be the students that keep athletics alive on campus.”

Forward Christine Mapp (10) drives to the baseline as Kathy Keating (22) looks to help out during a 1974 contest

Reports were also made on individual sports within the 1974 Galleon (p. 120) to compliment the overall article above.  When it came to the inaugural Basketball lineup, Ms. Cathy Meyer gave a detailed account of the establishment of the sport from December 1973 when a call for volunteers was made with 30 answering the call.  After tryouts had completed 12 players were selected to make the squad under Coach Sue Dilley.  They had their first scrimmage with Bergen Community College that month and Ms. Maureen Keenan became the first team captain.  Their inaugural game was contested on January 5, 1974 when the played the City College of New York (L, 33-42) and registered their first victory against Ramapo College by a score of 57-15 on January 19, 1974.  They ended the 1973-74 campaign with a  9-4 record and just missed the AIAW New Jersey State Colleges Playoff of that year, but would rebound to have a 13-5 mark and make the AIAW National Tournament.

1973-74 Seton Hall Women’s Fencing Team .LEFT: Kneeling: Linda Hall, Liz Carol, Lesley Sharrock, Nancy Cucci. STANDING: Gregory Boutsikaris, Claudia Cantemi, Brenda Hand, Barbara Williams, Sue Brown, Coach Harry Boutsikaris.

Success also came to the Women’s Fencing force of 1973-74 and reporter Ms. Judy Rothrock (also of the 1974 Galleon Yearbook, p. 129-131) wrote the following testimonial for those who competed in épée, foil, and sabre.  “Perhaps the most inspiring sport for women at Seton Hall in the past four years is the women’s fencing team.  Up until this year, it was the only varsity sport made available on the campus.  Its success has been outstanding . . . The team started on a club basis, only to receive varsity status its second year . . . Since that time, the program has been open to all women on campus regardless of fencing experience.  They begin with individual instruction and are immediately included in the dual meets as they improve.  However, there is no long wait before they may participate . . .”  The first contest for Setonia came against Caldwell College and resulted in a 13-3 for the Pirate “Swordswomen” and on the season they hovered around the .500 mark, but this would turn around to consecutive winning records later that decade.

Women’s Fencing Action, c. 1974

From its beginnings in 1974, the Women of Setonia Athletics have continued their path of sustained play on behalf of their alma mater, individual and team success along with increased popularity that has endured to the present day.  Go Bucettes and Pirate Swordswomen!

Full-text and additional illustrations on Seton Hall Women’s Athletic Teams featured within the pages of our Galleon Yearbooks (1974-2006) can be discovered through online resources of these texts can be found via the following link:

Additional details on all aspects of the Athletic and Recreation Program at Seton Hall can be found within our Special Collection connected to sports on campus. The link to our ArchivesSpace catalog can be found via the following link:

For more information and questions about the Athletic History of Seton Hall, contact Alan Delozier, University by e-mail at: or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Object of the Week: Chimú Banded Hanging Pot

Banded Hanging Pot
1000 – 1400
5” H x 5” W x 5” D
Gift of Jack Noel Jacobsen Jr.
Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archeology


This pot was made in the Chimor Empire, which was one of the largest and most prosperous civilizations in South America between the 10th and 15th centuries, before being overtaken by the Inca around 1470.  The Chimú resided in fertile river valleys located on a strip of desert on the northern

Map of Chimu Empire
Map of Chimú Empire shown in yellow

coast of present-day Peru. The region was favorable for crop irrigation and plentiful supplies of fish, both important drivers for their economy.  The Chimú, were comprised of many different ethnic groups owing to ongoing expansion into new regions.  Most citizens were artisans who used extensive trade networks to contribute to this flourishing culture.  This pot is an example of the empire’s distinctive monochromatic pottery which was utilitarian in nature, but the Chimú were also known for more elaborately decorated crafts made of precious metals such as the rattle pictured below.[1]

Chimú gold rattle
Chimú gold rattle, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago via

The Chimú lived in urban settings and left behind many formidable examples of architecture. The former capital, Chan-Chan, not far from present-day Trujillo, contains 14 square miles of their former cityscape where streets, imposing walls, reservoirs and temples still stand.  The size of the ruins suggests the city was populated by thousands.[2]

Chan-Chan Ruins by Veronique Debord
Chan-Chan Ruins by Veronique Debord


The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens for use by faculty, students and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, contact us at 973-275-2033 or fill out a research request form to make a research appointment. 



[1], accessed 12/18/2020.

[2] , accessed 12/18/2020.


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton & Bicentennial Remembrance

This date – January 4, 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the foundress of the Sisters of Charity and the first American-born to be canonized a saint.  As the patroness of American Catholic Education and the Catholic University of New Jersey that bears her name we perpetually remember Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in various ways.  Examples include of the naming of our Women’s Center in her honor along with a number of annual campus-wide ceremonies and commemorations along with the continual opportunity to learn more about her life and legacy through our associated historical texts and research collections.

Early Portrait of Mother Seton, c. 1840s

The following capsulized biography of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton has been featured on the Seton Hall University Internet-based Homepage and provides a introduction to those who are not familiar with her notable background and life story . . .

“Elizabeth Bayley was born August 28, 1774 in New York City. Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley, was a prominent physician and surgeon and the first Health Officer in New York City. Her mother, Catherine Charlton Bayley, the daughter of an Episcopal minister, died May 8, 1777 leaving 3 children, Mary 7, Elizabeth, 2 years, 9 months, and an infant, Catherine, who died two years later. Dr. Richard Bayley died of yellow fever in 1801.

A year after his wife died, Dr. Richard Bayley married Charlotte Amelia Barclay. They had 4 children. Mary and Elizabeth spent their summers with their Uncle William Bayley at the Pell Bayley House in New Rochelle, New York.

Elizabeth Bayley married William Magee Seton, a wealthy shipping magnate on January 25, 1794. They had five children: Anna Maria (May 3, 1795); William (November 25, 1796); Richard (July 20, 1798); Catherine (June 28, 1800); and Rebecca (August 20, 1802).

William Magee Seton suffered major financial ruin and died of tuberculosis December 27, 1803 in Italy leaving Elizabeth a poor young widow with five small children.

Anna Marie, the eldest daughter, at 8 years of age, went to Italy with her parents where her ailing father died. She became affectionately called “Annina” by her mother. Anna Maria, as her father, died of tuberculosis March 12, 1812.

Elizabeth Seton, raised Episcopal, converted to Catholicism. She received her first Holy Communion in March 25, 1805. To raise and educated her own children, she became a teacher and wanted all children, boys and girls, to receive free education. At the Pace Street House in Baltimore she founded her first Catholic school.

On March 25, 1809 Elizabeth Seton pronounced vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Henceforth, she became known as Mother Seton. She began the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph on July 31, 1809 at the Stone House in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Mother Seton established St, Joseph’s Academy, the first Catholic parochial school in the United States.

Elizabeth Seton died of tuberculosis on January 4, 1821 at the age of 47. Her remains are sealed in the Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

In September, 1975, Elizabeth Seton became the first American to be canonized as a Saint. Her banner hung over the entrance to St. Peter’s in Rome.”

Window created in honor of Mother Seton found in President’s Hall, Seton Hall University, (Image c. 2001)

Further detail on Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton can be found via resources found within the University Libraries and Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.  The following Library Guide entitled: “Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton & Family” provides a number of information links including book volumes found in the Library Collection, detailed Internet sources, and relevant primary source leads including those located within our ArchivesSpace catalog can be found via the links found below . . .

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton & Family (Library Guide) –

Elizabeth Ann Seton (ArchivesSpace) –

Statue of Mother Seton, Seton Hall University Campus, (Image, c. 2004)

For more information and questions about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton you can contact us via e-mail at: or call: (973) 275-2378 to obtain further details.  We wish everyone a Happy New Year ahead!

Object of the Week: Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation

“Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation”
Black Student Union vertical file
Seton Hall University Archives and Special Collections



Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African American culture observed annually from December 26 through January 1.  During Kwanzaa, it is customary to greet friends and family with the phrase, “Habari gani,” meaning, “What is the news?”[1]  In response, one can reply with one of the seven different principles assigned to each day.  Every evening during Kwanzaa, a candle is lit on the kinara, or traditional candleholder, to honor the seven principles:

    • Umoja (Unity)
    • Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
    • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
    • Ujamaa (Cooperative economics)
    • Nia (Purpose)
    • Kuumba (Creativity)
    • Imani (Faith)

      Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, lights a candle in the Kinara. photo by Christopher Myers, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
      Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, lights a candle in the Kinara. photo by Christopher Myers, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

These seven tenets of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba, are collectively referred to as Kawaida, a Swahili word meaning “common.”[2]  The candles used in the kinara are red, green and black – each color having a different attribute.  The three red candles on the left of the kinara signify the blood shed in the fight for liberation, three green candles on the right stand for the future of Black liberation and the single black candle in the center symbolizes the people this celebration honors.[3]

“Annual Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation” Black Students Union vertical file, 2004, Archives and Special Collections, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
“Annual Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation” Black Students Union vertical file, 2004, Archives and Special Collections, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 when Maulana Karenga, a college professor of Africana studies at California State University in Long Beach, created the holiday to honor and celebrate pan-African culture.  Karenga said his goal was to “give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”[4]  At the time Karenga conceived of Kwanzaa, Los Angeles was reeling in the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion which devasted the south Los Angeles neighborhood in August 1965 after a traffic stop resulted in the arrest of a 21-year-old African American man, Marquette Frye.  For the next six days, violence and civil unrest rocked 46 square miles of Los Angeles.[5] It was against this political backdrop that Karenga sought to create a positive force for African Americans and African American culture.[6]  According to Karenga, Kwanzaa was partly inspired by the Zulu harvest festival, Umkhosi Wokweshwama, a five-day lunar ritual that takes place during the last full moon of the year.[7]

“Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation” Black Students Union vertical file, 2008, Archives and Special Collections, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
“Kwanzaa Celebration Invitation” Black Students Union vertical file, 2008, Archives and Special Collections, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning first fruits.  The extra “a” was added, said Karenga, to make the word Kwanzaa seven letters to enhance its symbolic power.[8]    Kwanzaa is a cultural event imbued with spiritual values, but it is not a religious observance.  People of all faiths may celebrate Kwanzaa and non-blacks can also observe the holiday.[9]  On his official Kwanzaa website, Dr. Karenga notes, “The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.”[10]


The Department of Archives and Special Collections maintains vertical files of documents and materials related to African American Studies, Black Studies, African American Alumni Association/Council, African American Heritage Month, African American Students Association, Africana Studies, African Student Association, Black History Month, Women of Hope, Black Studies Center, Institute in Afro-American History and Culture, Rallies, and University of Sierra Leone Summer School.  The images accompanying this blog post show Annual Kwanzaa celebrations organized by the Black Student Union at Seton Hall University, part of this large collection of materials preserved by the university’s archives. These materials are available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476.



[1], accessed 12/15/2020.

[2], accessed 12/15/2020.

[3], accessed 12/15/2020.

[4], accessed 12/15/2020.

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[9], accessed 12/15/2020.

[10], accessed 12/15/2020.

Commemorating the Birth of First President of Seton Hall – Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid

Not only is December the month when the world celebrates the dawn of the Lord Jesus Christ, but within the annals of Seton Hall history, the last part of the year is also known for the birth of our first (and third) College President (from 1856-57 and 1859-66), Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid.  Born on December 15, 1823, McQuaid was an important figure in the christening of the Catholic College of New Jersey during its early years and the impact of his vision and belief in the worth of higher education lives on through his early and enduring initiatives and memorials in the latter day including McQuaid Hall (Home to the School of Diplomacy) and the McQuaid Medal (the highest honor bestowed on those affiliated with the University) among other landmarks outside South Orange.

McQuaid Hall (Home to the School of Diplomacy and International Relations), c. 2015
McQuaid Medal – Front Side of the Award, c. 2000

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) and the seminal work The Catholic Church in New Jersey of 1904 (found online within the Library Guide – and in hard copy form within our Rare Book Collection, Call Numbers – BXZ841.C25 and BXZ1415.N5 F6 1904 respectively), the following highlights have been recorded in relation to the life and legacy of Bishop McQuaid.  The trailblazing president of Seton Hall, McQuaid (1823-1909) was born in New York City and his parents were of Irish Catholic origin and the family made history as they played host to the first Mass said in Powel’s Hook (presently known as Jersey City) in 1829.  Inspired by his practice in the Catholic faith, McQuaid was educated in Quebec and later at St. John’s Seminary at Fordham prior to his ordination in 1848.  He was assigned as a priest to the Diocese of New York and preceding the creation of the See of Newark (five years later) and was made a curate at St. Vincent Martyr in Madison, New Jersey.

Bernard J. McQuaid, c. 1855

When Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley became the first Bishop of Newark he assigned McQuaid to cover multiple missions including the rectorship of St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark, and co-founding of Seton Hall College along with aid in establishing the Seton Sisters of Charity in Madison during the 1850s prior to becoming Vicar-General of the See in 1866.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the accomplishments made by McQuaid at Setonia were often tied into school firsts.   Seton Hall College was initially located in Madison, New Jersey, and commenced operations on September 1, 1856 with an initial enrollment of five students. Those who were included on the registration rolls under the leadership of McQuaid could expect to endure a structured seven-year Classical, Liberal Arts program (three year prep and four year college study) with heavy emphasis on Theology, Philosophy, Latin, Greek and Foreign Language offerings. during his second term as chief executive, McQuaid helped with the move of the Seton Hall College campus from Madison to South Orange in 1860. The College was Incorporated by Act of the New Jersey State Legislature on March 8, 1861.  McQuaid also belonged to the first Board of Trustees and co-authorized approval of the first Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B.) that was awarded to Louis Edward Firth in 1862. The earliest corporate seal included the Seton Family coat of arms and image of the Blessed Mary along with the enduring motto — Hazard Zit Forward — “No Matter What The Hazard, Yet Forward” was subsequently designed and adopted by the institution during May 1864 with sanction offered by McQuaid.

Bernard J. McQuaid, c. 1900

McQuiad was later appointed the first Bishop of Rochester (New York) in 1868 and continued forward with his primary cause of Catholic education in creating a strong parochial school systems, seminary, and was instrumental in working with the State university in the city on collaborative educational initiatives, all of which was generated in earnest during his time at Setonia and served the See of Rochester until his death in 1909.

More details on Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid can be found via our varied collections within the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and the Seton Hall University Libraries.  Finding aids and lists can be found via the following links below . . .

Office of the President & Chancellor – Bernard J. McQuaid Papers (SHU 0003-001) –

Volumes written by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid –

Volumes with Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid as the Subject –

For more information and to inquire about obtaining information off-site or looking into a future research appointment please feel free to contact us by phone at: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail at:


Celebration of St. Stephen and “Wren Day”

In religious terms, December 26th is the second day of Christmastide is part of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” observance between the Nativity and Epiphany.  In secular contemporary circles, the day itself is often seen as a time to rest, shop, or return gifts for exchange, but is also notable for the observance of what has come to be known as “Boxing Day” and has endured over the centuries. Various theories regarding the naming of this holiday have endured including among others servants receiving boxed gifts from their respective managers that emanated from Great Britain and is celebrated throughout the commonwealth wherein along with gifts in past days “lords of manor” and servants would trade places for that 24-hour period and in modern times the switch is based more on creative role playing in the present day.  In Éire proper, December 26th among the Christian population in particular, a different style commemoration that honors the Feast of St. Stephen has its own customs and traditions which has lived on through the ages.

“The Stoning of Saint Stephen” by Giovanni Battista Lucini (1508) [Public Domain Image]
St. Stephen (5-34 AD) was a church deacon who is often recognized (and memorialized in the Acts of the Apostles found throughout texts within the New Testament) as the first martyr of Christendom who lost his life in defense of his faith.  The specific reason for his death came through reprisal for negative remarks about Jewish authorities that spread to the ears of various Synagogue overseers throughout the City of Jerusalem during the fourth century.  According to existent accounts, Stephen was stoned to death for this sacrilege which led to his martyrdom and subsequent place of adoration over time.  His deed is recognized throughout various Christian denominations on a worldwide scale.  When it comes to the place of this martyr in Irish life, the famed Georgian square in Dublin, christened “St. Stephen’s Green” has immortalized him along with a Catholic parish that bears his name situated in Tyrrellspass, County Westmeath as well.

In broad terms, the traditional celebration of St. Stephen’s Day is actually a National Public Holiday (following in the wake of the Irish Banks Holiday Act of 1871) throughout the Republic of Ireland.  This observance is also celebrated in other locales (especially prevalent across Europe), but within the townlands and villages of Ireland, pubs and stores are often open to accommodate the crowds and visiting family members, attending musical-comedy performances that rely mainly on pantomime as a means of expression, and/or attending special Masses honoring Stephen for the more devout are popular traditions and more modern in approach than in past years when a Wren was the true centerpiece.

Atmospheric and Astrological details on St. Stephen’s Day, December 26, 1820 from the Irish Almanack of that year

This celebration is known in the Irish language as: Lá an Dreoilín or Lá Fhéile Stiofáin which in translation is known variously as “Wren Day,” “Wren’s Day,” or “Day of the Wren,” or the “Hunt of the Wren” (pronounced “wran” in Ireland) in which this bird is short in physical stature with a small wingspan is conversely loud and bold in its actions.  Known in some circles as “The King of Birds,” the wren according to historical accounts was the betrayer of Stephen who was found after hiding from those who sought to kill him making this fowl who squealed an integral part of the story in this martyrdom.  In the present day, it is considered good fortune for the individual to capture a live wren or a least secure a feather to find abundant good fortune while this bird of death is also associated with the old year.

Tradition has it that on every December 26th, a procession of individuals (known variously as “mummers” or “strawboys” or “wrenboys”) don suits and hats of dried hay, colorfully mixed and matched old clothing with some festooned in tinsel or colored paper and wearing masks to hide their faces while playing musical instruments in Céilí style, or process and dance on their own downtown streets.  During days of yore, in-between the march, the revelers stopped at homes along the way to ask for money, food, and drink as ingredients for the parties that were celebrated on that day.

Image of child-led procession in celebration of St. Stephen’s Day – “The Day of the Wren” c. early 20th century. Image from the site –

For those who did not contribute according to legend would risk having a wren buried outside of their door which would constitute twelve years of back luck for the non-donor.  In present times, those who collect money often donates these alms to charity or local schools instead of using it on themselves. Leading the way for the band of revelers within the parade itself is a pole bearer (or a few) who has a faux wren (in past ages it was a real bird, but this practice was phased out around the turn of the twentieth century) mounted atop this staff and in some cases also adorned with a holly bush to further denote the hiding place of Stephen upon his discovery.  Thu tradition is more common and celebrated fervently in different parts of Ireland including Dingle and Westmeath among others and has since fallen out of vogue in other regions of Ireland, but has undergone a more modern revival while keeping core traditions alive especially the honoring of the wren, song, dance, and expression which is now co-educational while in past days was a male only revelry.

Many who have no recognition of St. Stephen, may have heard his name within the refrain of the song “Good King Wenceslas” by John Mason Neale in 1853 actually in honor of his feast day.  This ballad begins in the following manner: “Good King Wenceslas look’d out, On the Feast of Stephen; When the snow lay round about, Deep, and crisp, and even . . . Brightly shone the moon that night . . .”

This mention is also a compliment to a number of poems and songs that honor St. Stephen and the Day of the Wren including: “The Wren, The Wren” (The Wrenboys Song) published in popular music anthologies during the nineteenth centur






Sheet Music to the Tune – “The Wren, The Wren” c. 1870s

However, he most prevalent and standard of rhymes that is repeated over and over on December 26th is the following verse . . .

The Wren, the Wren the king of all birds,
St. Stephens’s day, he was caught in the furze.
Although he is little, his honour is great,
Rise up, kind sir, and give us a trate.

We followed this Wren ten miles or more
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,
We up with our wattles and gave him a fall
And brought him here to show you all.

For we are the boys that came your way
To bury the Wren on Saint Stephens’s Day,
So up with the kettle and down with the pan!
Give us some help for to bury the Wren!

For more information about the story of St. Stephen can be found within New Testament text found in our Rare Book Collection including one of the oldest of our Irish-language volumes entitled: Tiomna Nuadh ar dTighearna agus ar Slanuigheora Iósa Criosd : ar na ťarrv, ng go firněać as Greigis go Gioďeilg (1681) along with other versions in later editions in multiple languages.

For more information on St. Stephen, Wren Day, and other aspects of Irish and Religious History please feel free to contact us by phone at: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail: